Dec 14, 2016

SC refuses to stay trial court proceedings against Nithyananda

Swami Nithyananda
Swami Nithyananda
Deccan Herald
December 14, 2016

Nithyananda's counsel Sanjay Nuli opposed the plea, questioning the locus standi of the petitioner in the criminal case. DH File photo
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the trial court proceedings against Swami Nithyananda in a six-year-old rape case.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar did not agree with the plea made by a counsel representing Nitya Dharmananda alias K Lenin, asking for the suspension of the trial court proceedings in view of a pending challenge to a high court order that had directed handing over certain documents, including "unauthenticated medical records” of the rape victim, to Nithyananda.

Nithyananda’s counsel Sanjay Nuli opposed the plea, questioning the locus standi of the petitioner in the criminal case. Lenin, who acted as driver of Nithyananda, had filed a complaint with the police.

Meanwhile, advocate V N Raghupathy, appearing for Karnataka, submitted that the state has also filed a special leave petition against the July 21 order of the high court. The apex court, while refraining from passing any order, put the matter for consideration on January 17.

In its petition, the state government contended that the high court ordered for providing statements of 32 witnesses, including that of actor Ranjitha Menon to the accused.

Ranjitha’s purported CD with Nithyananda had led to registration of criminal cases. The high court had also directed furnishing medical records of another victim and her email conversations to the accused.

The state government claimed the documents were not part of the charge sheet filed against Nithyananda and others in the rape and cheating case registered in March 2010 in the Bidadi police station in Ramanagaram district and, had not been relied upon by the prosecution.

Nithyananda and four other accused are seeking the "records virtually to set up a defence at the pre-trial stage which cannot be permitted”, advocate Joseph Aristotle, representing the state government submitted. He said the accused had misused the judicial process in order to delay the proceedings.

Nithyananda, who was booked for rape and indulging in unnatural sex, was arrested on April 22, 2010. Later, he was granted bail on June 11, 2010.

The 39-year-old, who founded an ashram with its headquarters on the outskirts of Bengaluru, was directed by the apex court in 2014 to undergo potency test and give blood and voice sample required for investigation of the case.

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